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War, Migration and the Origins of the Thai Sex Industry

Listed author(s):
  • Brodeur, Abel

    ()

    (University of Ottawa)

  • Lekfuangfu, Warn N.

    ()

    (Chulalongkorn University)

  • Zylberberg, Yanos

    ()

    (University of Bristol)

This paper analyzes the determinants behind the spatial distribution of the sex industry in Thailand. We relate the development of the sex industry to an early temporary demand shock, i.e., U.S. military presence during the Vietnam War. Comparing the surroundings of Thai military bases used by the U.S. army to districts close to unused Thai bases, we find that there are currently 5 times more commercial sex workers in districts near former U.S. bases. The development of the sex industry is also explained by a high price elasticity of supply due to female migration from regions affected by an agricultural crisis. Finally, we study a consequence induced by the large numbers of sex workers in few red-light districts: the HIV outbreak in the early 1990s.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp10686.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10686.

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Length: 58 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2017
Publication status: forthcoming in: Journal of the European Economic Association
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10686
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